Western Sydney Wanderers have joined forces with the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling in a collaboration created to raise awareness about the risks and damage betting can do to individuals, their families, and communities.
This move is in line with Wanderers desire to give back to the community. In doing so, the Western Sydney side will be the first sports team in Australia to have shunned betting and gambling sponsorships.
Bucking the Trend
The Wanderers are obliged to refuse all betting sponsorship overtures as part of the deal. In addition, they also have to engage their players, staff, and coaches in promotional campaigns that educate fans about betting related risks.
This Wanderers’ decision comes at a time when sports teams are entering into not one, but multiple betting sponsorship deals. In fact, all English Premier League sides have at least one betting sponsor and eight of the twenty teams in the league wear shirts with the logos of their sports betting partners.
Something similar is happening in Australia too. The majority of Australian broadcasters include betting and gambling adds when they cover sports events not just from soccer, but from other sports and codes as well.
No Lack Of Betting Proposals
It is evident that the Wanderers didn’t decide to go down this route for lack of sponsorship offers. They claim to had been approached by multiple betting companies and the sponsorship offers they had produced were reported to have been very enticing.
Accepting these sponsorship proposals would be the easiest decision for the Wanderers as they are financially rewarding and everyone seems to be doing it. After all, the A-League, where the Wanderers are competing, is engaged in an ongoing collaboration with betting behemoth Bet365.
However, the Wanderers decided to buck that trend and go against the current. In doing so, they are hoping to help resolve what they feel is the biggest problem in their communities and in the world of sport right now.
Sending the Right Message
Western Sydney Wanderers chief executive John Tsatsimas said that they felt they were more than just a football club and that they were not just another run-of-the-mill organization that operates in the sporting landscape.
Tsatsimas went on to say that betting-related issues are very close to home for his team and that if they were able to help in any way, shape, or form that makes a contribution and raises awareness, they would do it.
The Western Sydney Wanderers are currently involved in the “Reclaim the Game” campaign where they try to teach sports fans that betting is not the only way in which they can enjoy the sport they love.
Tsatsimas said that being part of the campaign was very important to them and they couldn’t ignore the problem gambling stories that are very quick to surface. He added that people saying that this was not a serious issue were closing their eyes and ignoring a serious problem.
First Australian Team Involved in “Reclaim the Game”
Natalie Wright, the director of the Office of Responsible Gambling said that it is their belief that people should enjoy sport without betting. To achieve this, she said that they were actively involved with sports codes and teams in their campaign to “Reclaim the Game”.
The campaign that the Wanderers are now joining was backed by Cricket NSW last year. They agreed to remove gambling and betting advertisements from all club events and raise awareness by cleaning all cricket broadcasts of betting content.
The Wanderers are taking this one step further as they are the first A-League club and the first Australian sports team in general to join the “Reclaim the Game” campaign.